University Hospitals is dropping “Case” from the name of its flagship hospital under its renewed affiliation agreement with the Case Western University School of Medicine.
UH Case Medical Center, named such in 2006 when the two signed a 50-year affiliation agreement, now will be known as UH Cleveland Medical Center. The renegotiated affiliation agreement sets out a multi-affiliation standing, giving both organizations the latitude to pursue other partnerships.
“You could characterize the previous affiliation agreement as one of boundaries and guardrails, and the current one is one of flexibility and opportunity for both organizations, including the flexibility and opportunity for us to work together,” said Dr. Jeffrey Peters, UH chief operating officer.
The affiliation agreement has seen a few slight tweaks and modifications, but this is the first time the two organizations have renegotiated the terms since UH added Case to the name of its flagship medical center.
The 2006 agreement, which included this 10-year renegotiation point, established UH as a primary affiliate of CWRU, a term “defined throughout the document in a variety of ways,” Peters said. Peters said it was “debatable” whether this gave CWRU the latitude for the 2013 announcement it would partner with the Cleveland Clinic — the region's largest health system — in the construction of a joint 485,000-square-foot, $515 million Health Education Campus on East 93rd Street between Euclid and Chester avenues near the Clinic's main campus.
“That was a point of tension between the organizations — I don't think that's a big secret,” he said. “That was a debatable point and the two organizations saw that differently.”
While CWRU's partnership with the Clinic was a factor, Peters said it wasn't a driving force in the decision.
The multi-affiliate standing is similar to other hospitals and health systems affiliated with the School of Medicine, according to a news release.
Peters said it was clear early in the 12-18 month negotiations for the renewed agreement that the concept of a primary affiliation was “a paradigm of the past” and the future would include the opportunity for multiple affiliations.
Considering how rapidly health care is changing in the United States and not knowing exactly where it's going, Peters said, “the wise strategy is to have a flexible future not a rigid future.”
UH physicians who have faculty appointments at the CWRU will retain those appointments, and medical students will continue their clinical rotations at UH. UH and CWRU will continue their collaboration in research, with funding from the National Institutes of Health and other federal sources being administered by the School of Medicine.
In a prepared statement, Dr. Pamela Davis, the dean of the CWRU School of Medicine and senior vice president for medical affairs, said the university was pleased to continue its affiliation with UH — in particular, the health system's Harrington Discovery Institute, a major drug development effort.
“Our medical school is uniquely positioned to coordinate city-wide partnerships that draw on the strengths of each of our hospital affiliates and dramatically accelerate discovery and innovation,” Davis said in the statement.
Though Peters said UH is not currently exploring specific partnerships, the health system will be looking at industry, corporate, foundation, government and university partnerships, he said.
The renewed affiliation agreement is for the next five years, at which point there's the option of another renegotiation.
With the rapid changes in health care, Peters said UH wouldn't even think of structuring a 50-year agreement today. The changes in health care from 2006 to 2016 put the field in “a whole different universe,” he said.
Though the 50 year agreement no longer stands, Peters is quick to emphasize that the organizations expect to continue their relationship and collaboration well into the future.
“UH and CWRU have had a 100 year plus relationship,” Peters said. “During that relationship, which we expect to continue for another 100 years, there have been all kinds of agreements, including everything from none to pretty strict ones.”
The work to change the hospital's name to UH Cleveland Medical Center is ongoing, and largely includes signage from business cards to lab coats, Peters said. The goal is to have all changes completed by Sept. 30. UH doesn't have an exact cost of these changes, but he said it is into seven figures.
“We very much hope that our partnership will get stronger, not weaker, and that we'll find a whole plethora of commonality and areas where we can collaborate,” Peters said. “Both organizations actively structured an agreement that would not radically change our current operating model, purposely so in the best interest of the faculty and the students and the community.”
"UH dropping 'Case' from flagship medical center name" originally appeared in Crain's Cleveland Business.